Decmeber 12, 2012: Co Director Judith Browne Dianis of Advancement Project testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
Advancement Project works to end extreme and unfair school disciplinary measures that push children off of an academic track and on to a track to prison.
Across the country, school systems are shutting the doors of academic opportunity on students and funneling them into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The combination of overly harsh school policies and an increased role of law enforcement in schools has created a “school-to-prison pipeline,” in which punitive measures such as suspensions, expulsions, and school-based arrests are increasingly used to deal with student misbehavior, and huge numbers of youth are pushed out of school and into prisons and jails. In many communities, this transforms schools from places of learning to dangerous gateways into juvenile court. This is more than an education crisis; it is a racial justice crisis, because the students pushed out through harsh discipline are disproportionately students of color.
Advancement Project works with communities throughout the country to end the use of school policies that push young people out of school and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Through our nationally acclaimed research and analysis of school discipline data and policies, communication strategies, and policy advocacy, we are eliminating the needless exclusion of young people from their schools through the use of suspensions, expulsions, and arrests.
The goals of Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track are:
To document and expose the use of zero tolerance and other harsh disciplinary policies and the “School-to-Prison Pipeline";
To develop and implement school discipline reforms on the local level that will serve as models for other communities;
To strengthen the capacity of the youth and parents involved in this work to become engaged citizens and agents of change;
To impact the national conversation about this issue in order to facilitate broader reforms.